It is time for my weekly visit to the other guys' SBN site. That means I've been checking out the things happening over at Bleeding Green Nation, the site for the Philadelphia Eagles.
In recent years, the rivalry between the Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys has become among the most vitriolic and entertaining ones in the NFL. Both fan bases seem to object to just about everything about the other side, and the way legitimate complaints and totally irrational objections mix together makes for a lot of lively back and forth when the two groups clash.
In some past years the games between Philly and Dallas have not always been crucial, but this week it is a possible turning point for both teams. Dallas is at 3-3 and trying to prove that it is a better team than its record indicates. A win will give the Cowboys a chance to start a run to try and take the NFC East. A loss is not the end for postseason hopes, but it sure does make it a lot harder to get there.
The Eagles are likewise needing a win to prove they are not as bad as 2-4 indicates, and a loss for them is nearly the kiss of death for the playoffs. Both teams need this win.
Both teams also have had some early season injury problems that affect both their offensive and defensive lines, and both are coming into the Sunday night contest with some things they believe are starting to click. The Eagles are coming off their bye week, which is a helpful thing for them.
What I found over there after the jump
A big storyline for the game is the return of DE Trent Cole and OT Jason Peters. Both lines have been making a lot of adjustments to cover for their absence, and these two will mean that this is a very different looking Eagles team than the one that managed to beat the Washington Redskins before the Eagles bye week.
Another injured player returning to health is second year DE Brandon Graham, who is the sole remaining question mark for Andy Reid:
"Really [DE] Brandon Graham is the only decision we have to make. Howie and I will get together. We'll do that before four o'clock tomorrow, when that needs to be done. Everybody else is healthy and ready to go, as is Brandon, we'll just see how he does today and then we'll make that decision by tomorrow"
Apparently, he has lost the weight he put on while he was out, as noted in one of the cutely named "Linc" posts over there.
Twenty pounds in eight weeks! Now that’s a weight loss journey that anyone would be proud of. Wait. What's that? Brandon Graham gained twenty pounds over two months? And not in the weight room?
The fun thing is that if you follow the link, you discover that he blamed his weight gain on - are you ready? - Philly cheesesteaks.
Moving on. This is the Cowboys' away game vs. the Eagles this year, which should make the task a little tougher. But maybe not, as a post about the Eagle Home Field Disadvantage notes.
Not only have they lost five straight, but the Eagles are just 4-7 at the Linc in their last 11 games.
Now there is a streak to continue.
The Eagles have some potent weapons on offense. Among them is DeSean Jackson, who is apparently involved in a contract dispute. BGN seems to hope it will be resolved soon.
If you have been in the comment threads here at BTB lately, you know that one of the items for discussion has been whether DeMarco Murray's breakout game against the Rams was a fluke. Eagles linebacker Jamar Chaney was asked about that, and his remarks pick up on a bigger picture:
He's really fast and he's a guy that can make good decisions and find the right hole to go through. And the offensive line did a great job, too. I mean, they do a great job blocking and it's a team effort, you know, their wide receivers are down the field blocking. So it's not just him, it's a team effort.
Related to that is the question of whether the performance by the Eagles defense against the Washington Redskins running game was also a fluke. Philly had been struggling to stop the ground game before that, so Eagles DC Juan Castillo was asked if his team could continue to stop the run. The answer is, well, see for yourself:
"You know what, it is really the way people talk about schemes, right? And there's different kind of schemes, okay? There's outside zone scheme [and] even though people make a big deal [about it] all outside zone schemes are basically the same; some people run it better because they do it more. [There's] inside zone schemes, alright. Gap schemes are powers and counters, double teams at the point of attack with a kick-out and lead guy. Alright, then they have lead schemes, lead draws, kind of like the Cowboys had, misdirection type plays. So this is a team that probably uses a little bit of everything. The Redskins were basically an outside zone scheme [and] that's what they did and they were pretty good at that because that's what they did. The Cowboys use a little bit of each scheme so we're having to take time [to study and] we're fortunate we had Monday where we worked on a certain part of their running attack. So we're trying to break down the schemes so we can stop the run."
I think that's a solid maybe. Judging from the comments thread, I wasn't the only one who didn't quite follow all that.
Our own Dave does Five Questions with the opponent's lead editor each week, and the returns the favor. But for some reason, he got asked only Four Questions.
Now, I mentioned the comments threads. If you have been reading them here, you have seen that we have been trolled . . . I mean, visited by some of the BGN members. One in particular has been very active. d-jackfan10 had such a good time, he wrote a fanpost about his visit here. And that was not the only post he had up. He also had some mild criticism of Rob Ryan (just in case you need any help getting fired up this week). And he is trying to find a way to put the whole Dream Team fiasco in the past. Incidentally, the comment thread on that last one is a good read to get some flavor for BGN (and find out that BTB may not be then only place d-jackfan10 irritates people.)
Finally, if you find yourself in need of a small touch of the surreal, click here. Otherwise, have a great weekend.